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Welcome to Palestine Today, a service of the International Middle East Media Centre,, for Wednesday November 25th 2009.

Israeli troops attack a southern West Bank village and in other communities kidnap civilians during pre dawn invasions. These stories and more, coming up, stay tuned.

The News Cast

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says his government has decided on a 10-month freeze of construction in West Bank settlements. The temporary freeze on construction will not include settlements inside Jerusalem city or 3,000 homes under construction in current West Bank settlements. This has prompted criticism from the Palestinian government. Minister Issa Qaraqi said the Palestinians demand a total freeze:

< Actuality – Arabic>

‘This announcement is deceptive and just for show. The Palestinian position is clear: we refuse to negotiate while settlements continue to exist. Furthermore, what does this freeze really signify? I think it’s meant to drive us back to negotiations without reaching an agreement on ending the conflict.’

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters today that his announcement proves that Israel is trying to reach peace with the Palestinians. Washington welcomed Netanyahu’s announcement and called it a significant move. The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the U.S administration demanded earlier this year a freeze of settlements before peace talks could be resumed.

There are 470, 000 Israeli settlers living in settlements covering 40% of the West Bank, including Jerusalem. According to international law all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal.

In other news, Israeli military and police forces attacked on Wednesday afternoon the village of Towani, southern West Bank. Around 50 soldiers and police officers surrounded the village declaring it a close military zone. They then started to remove pylons providing Towani with electricity.

Members from the human right group Christian Peace Makers Teems, CPT, told IMEMC that the military attacked villagers and human right workers when they tried to stop the military from dismantling the electricity pylons.

The military says the pylons providing Towani with electricity were installed without the approval of the army. The villagers tried to ask the army for permission but the military refused and gave no reason. The villagers subsequently installed the pylons at their own expense.

Meanwhile the Israeli military kidnapped on Wednesday six Palestinian civilians during pre dawn invasions targeting a number of west Bank communities. Local sources announced that the invasions targeted the southern West Bank cities Hebron and Bethlehem in addition to the cities Nablus and Jenin in the north. The Israeli army radio said that all those kidnapped were moved to military detention camps for questioning.


Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem. You have been listening to Palestine Today from the International Middle East Media Center, This report has been brought to you by Ghassan Bannoura.